Wednesday, May 22, 2013

County uses good mulch

Commentary to the Grants Pass City Council, 3-6-2013.  Not published on Yahoo Voices

I saw good mulch being spread on county property this week.  At the Dimmick hospital property, there were tree chips spread among the shrubs and a pile waiting to be spread as well.  ODOT has likewise been using tree chips around trees in the South Y intersection.
Our county officials have seen the light of using available mulch that is free or cheap and doesn’t kill soil.  They are talking about storing excess county leaves for use as mulch by the county and residents, as the City used to do before the Parkway eliminated our old Little League fields and the leaf dump next door.  I took many loads of half-composted leaves, full of worms, from that dump for my dad’s yard in the mid-1980s.  It will be good to have a leaf storage depot available again for my gardening business and home gardeners, as well as the County. 
Perhaps the City and County can share one, as the City should stop hauling bagged leaves to Jo Gro for free, and keep the trash out of its compost.  Leaves are far better used directly for mulch than mixed with sewage sludge and composted; they stop weeds as they decompose and feed the soil. 
Compost and barks, fine or coarse, make better weed seed beds than weed-stoppers.  In maintenance, I have moved to using leaves as much as I can to stop weeds; they work better than anything else.  Tree chips are a close second, are neater, and last longer, but I rarely use them.  But walk-on fir and nugget bark do not kill soil, retain moisture, look beautiful and last far longer than fine bark.
The City of Grants Pass, on the other hand seems set to renew its fine bark mulch, Red Death, around city hall and other city properties, as it has done regularly since I started telling you about fine bark killing soil 5 years ago. 
You just gave awards to various owners and builders of new buildings, most of which were surrounded by Red Death mulch.  I challenge these owners of new, award-winning landscaping to take a shovel to their soil under that bark and find any life at all.  The natural preservatives in the bark, grown to protect trees from insects, fungi and diseases, and freed by grinding it, have killed all non-plant life under it.  Weeds, however, are growing at the one I pass nearly every day; Red Death makes a great weed seed bed.
Please join the State and County in bringing our soil back to life, and stop spreading Red Death.

Changing public servants’ minds takes eloquence and numbers.
One eloquent person with numbers of people chiming in can work wonders.
Rycke Brown, Natural Gardener         541-955-9040

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